The annual gay pride festival in Leicester has been cancelled this year due to lack of funding and staff.

The LGBT festival was due to take place on June 23rd. It is the first time that the event has been cancelled in its seven year history.

But organisers hope the party, which costs £20,000, will go ahead in 2008.

The festival traditionally includes a colourful parade complete with floats, dancers and a marching band. Musical performers take part, as do campaigning groups.

The event usually attracts an estimated 10,000 visitors, and entry is free.

Corin Desborough, festival director, told the Leicester Mercury that the event had been called off for several reasons.

She said: “We’ve had some difficulty raising funds. It’s not a funding crisis – we have got money and we’re not bankrupt.

“We could not guarantee being able to stage a festival of the same size this year.

“It’s not unprecedented that events, every now and then, have to take a year out.

“The festival is entirely run by volunteers and we’ve lost some key committee members who have moved on, so we are down in terms of expertise.

“We are very disappointed but not too downhearted because we are doing the sensible thing by taking a much longer run at 2008.”

Organisers are appealing for businesses to sponsor next year’s event and for more volunteers to join the 2008 committee.

Although the festival does receive financial support from the city council, it is not enough to cover all the costs.

Last year, PinkNews.co.uk reported how Leicester Pride had to be scaled down due to lack of funding.

Councillor John Mugglestone, city council cabinet spokesman for leisure and regeneration, told the Leicester Mercury the festival still had the full support of the city council.

He said: “I hope they come back as good as they have ever been.”

A number of venues in the city are still planning to mark June 23rd with Pride events.